Government sets out scope of investigation into power outage


The government has set out the scope of its review into the actions of the National Grid Electricity System Operator after Friday’s power cuts. The Energy Emergencies Executive Committee will establish what happened to cause the outage and if correct procedures were followed. It will also consider whether improvements are needed to prevent future power cuts and better respond if they do occur, including minimising impacts on people and essential services.

The committee met for the first time on Monday (12 August) and will provide a report on initial findings within 5 weeks to the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy. It will then submit a comprehensive report within 12 weeks.

This review will complement the investigation being undertaken by energy regulator Ofgem into how the electricity operator responded in line with its licence conditions and system security standards. It will advise if any further actions need to be taken.

Business Secretary Andrea Leadsom said: “Friday’s power outages caused significant chaos and disruption to hundreds of thousands of people. National Grid is urgently reviewing what happened and will shortly report to Ofgem to consider what action may need to be taken.

“National Grid has already confirmed that the incident was not linked to the variability of wind power, a clean, renewable energy source that the government is investing in as we work towards becoming a net zero emissions economy by 2050. Friday’s incident does however demonstrate the need to have a diverse energy mix.

“I have formally commissioned the government’s Energy Emergencies Executive Committee to review the emergency response and recovery procedures for our energy system.”

The Energy Emergencies Executive Committee is a partnership between government, the regulator and industry which co-ordinates resilience planning across the energy industry. It ensures a joined-up approach to emergency response and recovery, identifying risks and processes to manage the impact of emergencies affecting the supply of gas and/or electricity to consumers in Great Britain.


  1. The UK blackout last week is getting lots of folks excited and I see that the government is demanding an enquiry. But, when it comes down to the nitty gritty, it is the government itself that should be the star witness! The blackout was caused by the unusual event of two power stations tripping off line at nearly the same time. The grid just shut down load to protect us from wide voltage and frequency swings. The fact that the second station was an off-shore wind farm when the wind was gusting strongly probably added to the stability problem in the first place. But why did it trip the grid? Because the system has insufficient spinning reserve to save money for the private operators. The government sold off the utility because it was inefficient (and to bolster a flagging economy). It was ‘inefficient’ due to too many staff and too much spinning reserve. Well, the maintenance investment has gone down and the spinning reserve cut to below the bone when the wind blows – so we saw the result. It is a rare occurrence but is likely to occur a little more frequently as we increase the intermittent renewables. We need more nuclear base load generation to replace gas, which has largely displaced coal. Governmental Review? What a waste of money on a silly audience of politicians that don’t know much more than how to claim their expenses.


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